Born into an evolving and indifferent world, it is a long and continuous struggle for our species to initiate, preserve, and expand Human Rights. The subject is too vast for a single blog, so this one is a hit and miss attempt to follow up thoughts expressed in many of the 184 blogs I have published to date.
History provides us with numerous examples of human cultures striving for equality. A few examples:
Our oldest-known legal code was imposed in Mesopotamia (Iraq) by Urukagina of Lagash 4,350 years ago. It was flawed with adultery penalties for women but none for men. Later codes included the Sumerian Ur-Nammu code and the Code of Hammurabi 3,780 BP that decreed the rights of men, women, children, and slaves.
Muhammad’s 622 AD Charter of Medina, was a huge improvement for women and centuries ahead of the West. The West then had its 1215 Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus and the world had its non-binding 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, the struggle remains. Today’s concerns include;
Income Equality: At the January 1918 meeting, with over 400 sessions, in Davos (Swiss Alps). the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that it got worse in that 82% of the wealth created went to the richest 1% of our global population. Since 2010 their wealth increased 13% per year compared to 2% for ordinary workers.
The Plight if Indigenous Women and Children: This is a 500-year, disgraceful, ignored, broken-promise tale. Currently there are investigative actions by individuals and governments, but corrective actions are slow, bogged down in bureaucracy, and, too often, ineffective. Annita Lucchesi, a Cheyenne, is accumulating data back to 1900, and so far has over 2,500 cases in Canada and the U.S. to reveal a partial extent of the crime.
In 2017 the Navajo Nation was devastated by the abduction and murder of 11-year old Ashlynne Mike. Authorities did not issue an alert for Ashlynne until the day after family members reported her abduction. This prompted the 2017 AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John McCain (R-AZ), that became law in Apr 2018 expanding the abduction warning system to clarify that tribes are eligible for Department of Justice grants helping law enforcement assemble alerts. It would also enhance how grants are used. The DOJ will now be able to assist state and local governments to develop and implement AMBER Alert plans in order to expedite abduction alerts.
The FBI reports more than 7,500 Native Children are listed as missing in the US. To improve data, an important step is the Savanna’s Act of 2017 introduced by Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester (D-MT).
In Canada in 2014 the RCMP estimated that 1,181 First Nations women were murdered or went missing between 1980 and 2012, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to launch a national inquiry which suffered numerous flaws, resignations, and oversights. It included in its Apr 2018 report a request for funding for a 2-year extension. Six months has been granted.
Gender: This blog carries on from Blog 165 of 26 January 2017 “Trump vs Woman Power”, from Blog 143 of 27 Jan 2016 “Rape vs Love”, and from Blog 181 of 11 Dec 2017 “Evolution, We Need to Have a Talk” that detailed gender behaviour over the past 52,000 years.
Problems remain amid the remarkable progress we have made. Yet, the majority of women whom I have asked claim that they prefer to work for a man as women can be malicious. So, where do we stand?
At the annual meeting of world leaders in Davos in the Swiss Alps, Jan 2017, the WEF assessed and ranked countries in order of their functioning in gender equality with 1.000 a perfect score. Iceland ranked first with 878 points and Yemen last with 516. After Iceland, the top 19 are: Norway, Finland, Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, France, Germany, Namibia, Denmark, UK, Canada, Bolivia, Bulgaria, and South Africa with 756 points.
The USA ranks 49th with a 718 score. A sampling of others: Australia 731, Israel 721, Ukraine 705, Vietnam 698, Russian Federation 696, Mexico 696, Greece 692, Brazil 684, China 674, India 669, Japan 657, S.Korea 654, Turkey 645, Egypt 606, Lebanon 596, Saudi Arabia 584, Iran 583, Chad 575, Syria 568, Pakistan 546.
Women are heads of state in 11 countries and heads of government in 12. They are 19.4% of the US Congress. Only two countries have a majority of women in parliament: Rwanda with 61.3% and Bolivia with 53.1%. The Canadian cabinet has 15 men and 15 women but the House of Commons has 92 women, 27.2% of 338 seats compared to 105 of 435 seats in the US House of Representatives.
Countries that recruit women for front-line combat positions are: In Europe: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Elsewhere: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in the Anglosphere; plus Eritrea, Israel, and North Korea. In the USA 15% of the serving members are female. The USAF has 19%.
Estonia leads the world in the percentage of female university graduates at 69% followed by Brazil 63, Finland 62, Spain 60, Canada 59, USA 58, Chile 58, Australia 56, UK 55, Germany 54, Mexico 55, France 54, Switzerland 50, China 48, S,Korea 47, Turkey 46, Japan 41%.
The Incel Movement: is an evolving group first coined in 1993 by a Canadian women to commence a web site of involuntary celibates to assess their feelings. It has grown to include individuals from the writings of famed authors to today’s sex murders such as:
Richard Speck, the night of 13-14 July 1966, tortured, raped, and murdered 8 student-nurses at South Chicago Community Hospital. He died in prison in 1991.
Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist, on 06 December 1989, entered an engineering class at L’École Polytechique in Montreal, targeting women. He killed 14 plus himself.
Elliott Rogers, still a virgin at 22, ranted against women who rejected him and vowed to kill beautiful women. In a drive-by shooting spree 23 May 2014, he killed 7 in Isla Vista near the University of Santa Barbara, California. Stopped by police he shot himself in his car to become the idol of Incels.
Nikolas LaCrosse, 27, in Massachusettes in Feb 2015, stabbed his girlfriend 32 times for breaking up with him and dating someone else.
Jason Eaton, 45, in Indiana in October 2016, shot his girlfriend when she rejected his marriage proposal. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Alek Minassian in Toronto on Tuesday, 24 Apr 2018, deliberately plowed his rented van into crowds of pedestrians along Yonge Street, killing 10 people, wounding 15, most of whom were women. Much evidence points to the 25-year-old being motivated by misogynistic beliefs held by “incels,” Minassian is in police custody.
Freedom of the Press: Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization founded in Paris in 1985, reports that, in 2018, a free press is enjoyed by only 13% of the world population, 42% have a partly-free press while 45% have none. It ranks 180 countries with the top ten being Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, and Costa Rica. Some other rankings are: Ireland 13th, Germany 15, Canada 18, Australia 19, South Africa 28, France 33, UK 40, Taiwan 142, South Korea 43, USA 45, Italy 46, Spain 51, Argentina 52, France 53, Poland 58, Japan 67, Hong Kong 70, Greece 74, Israel 87, Ukraine 101, Brazil 102, Afghanistan 118, Nigeria 119, Chad 123, United Arab Republics 128, Philippines 133, Palestine 134, India 138, Pakistan 139, Mexico 147, Russia 148, Singapore 151, Turkey 157, Iraq 160, Egypt 161, Iran 164, Saudi Arabia 169, China 176, North Korea 180th.
Journalists: seek out, investigate, evaluate, and report happenings. Casualties are a known risk in war zones, Alarmingly, murders are increasing in non-war areas where truth is opposed by governments, special interests, and gangs.
From Jan 1995 to June 2018 our world has endured 1,361 journalists killed. In 2016 and 2017, 15 women reporters were killed. In 2017 there were 11 journalists murdered in Mexico compared to 12 in Syria. Currently there are 326 reporters in prison with another 54 detained.
In 2017, 65 media workers were killed, 26 in war zones, but 39 in non-war zones. Countries with unsolved murder cases (those marked * have made some convictions) include: Iraq 71, *Somalia 24, Mexico 21, *Pakistan, *Philippines, *Brazil 15, India 13, *Russia 9, *Bangladesh 7, Afghanistan 5, Nigeria 5, S.Sudan 5.
Political Leadership: The United States, that considers itself a leader in human rights, now has a baffling president. He enjoys a following, yet he is aggravating climate change, enriching the rich, building walls, tearing children from their refugee parents, and enhancing (as Obama and others did) an already dominant and frightening military, thus forcing an arms race. Trump with 65,000 nuclear warheads has elevated North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with 60 plus a dismal human-rights record, to equal status while alienating his county’s best allies by imposing trade-crippling sanctions, prompting counter sanctions. Who is the scarier? Kim or Donald?
In Davos, Canada’s Justin Trudeau strongly urged attendees to appreciate their superior well-being by helping those in less fortunate positions. Then, by leading the opposition to destructive tariffs, he united his friends and critics in Canada and Europe to stand with him against Trump who lashed out at him so that Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, complained “There is a special place in Hell for Trudeau who negotiated with Trump in bad faith”. EU Council president, Donald Tusk, responded “There is a special place in Heaven for Justin Trudeau.”
There is hope among the gloom and doom but it relies on each of us to continue the pressure on individuals and authorities to behave responsibly. We have evolved to thrive in a lonely planet. Make it so.
Ye Olde Scribe